• Kristin Perissinotto

WHAT IS HAPPENING in the US right now?

Updated: Jan 15

I find myself internally (and sometimes externally) yelling multiple times a day.


Why are they impeaching Trump? Will he actually be impeached this time? Are Trump and Mike Pence not speaking? Will Pence become President? Who is Nancy Pelosi and what does she do? Are Republicans really turning on Trump? What is Parler? We answer all of these questions for Aussies who don’t know what the F is going on.


Giving Trump the boot


There is talk from the House of Representatives about giving Trump an early finish to his presidency. Here are the options...


Impeachment


Democrats from the House of Representatives are pushing for Trump’s impeachment. He will face a charge of incitement of insurrection, which means he is being accused of encouraging the violent uprising of his supporters, i.e. the attack on the Capitol just a few days ago.


This viral Tweet has been making the rounds about why it’s important to impeach Trump, but it’s actually not completely accurate.



According to CNN, these are the facts:

  • Trump would lose his post-presidency pension only if both the House voted to impeach him and then the Senate voted to remove him from office; impeachment itself, without removal, would not result in Trump being denied any benefits.

  • The law makes clear that presidents who have lifetime Secret Service protection never get a $1 million travel allowance.

  • It is unclear that Trump would lose lifetime Secret Service protection even if the Senate voted to remove him and prohibit him from running.

  • Even a Senate vote to remove Trump would not prohibit him from running in 2024; for the Senate to ban him from the presidency, it would have to hold an additional vote on this question.


25th Amendment


Another option to remove Trump from office early is to invoke the 25th amendment. This would involve Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet removing Trump from office. This movement would require a majority vote to pass.


But Trump will be out of office soon… Why remove him early?


This question isn’t easy to answer. People are divided, and not just down party lines. The argument for removal is pretty easy to understand. Trump incited violence and didn’t condemn the riots. People want to see him punished, or at least make an example out of him for this. They want him forcibly removed before he ‘needs’ to be. Nancy Pelosi, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and a Democrat has publicly said that ‘he needs to go’. She has labelled him an imminent threat to the United States, and is pushing for either the 25th amendment to be incited or impeachment to go ahead. Pelosi isn’t the only one being vocal, with Republicans joining her as well. Republican Senators Pat Toomey and Lisa Murkowski have said Trump needs to “go away as soon as possible,” showing that Trump may be losing support from his own party.


But others, even political progressives, are encouraging the House to leave him be until the inauguration. This movement has grown since the FBI has spoken of its fear of a huge uprising led by Trump supporters if he is removed from office early. This, of course, is very possible given the events of last week.


The Twitter ban


The famous Twitter ban. By this point, everyone knows about Trump being banned from Twitter. And Facebook, Instagram, Myspace, TikTok, and pretty much every social media platform, relevant or not. His final Tweets were the following.



Following Trump’s ban, the self-described ‘free speech’ social media app called Parler jumped to #1 on the Apple App store as Trump supporters (and probably many others) rushed to get online, expecting Trump to begin using it to speak out. As Parler has no moderation, it was soon banned by Apple and Google app stores. There have since been rumours about Trump using different accounts and methods to Tweet and contact his supporters.


Trump the media mogul


There has been talk since the 2020 election that Trump plans to found (and fund) his own media company, and it looks like he might be adding a social media platform to the mix. As to whether it will go anywhere, only time will tell. While Big Tech's response to Trump's attempts to continue spreading misinformation and inciting violence amoung his supporters, it is likely that, even if he did start a new social media platform, it wouldn't last long on the app stores. But underground chatrooms and platforms are, in many cases, more insidious.



Trump and Pence


Trump and Pence were on bad terms on the day of the riot, as the VP openly condemned the violence, joining the voices of Joe Biden and countless Democratic officials. Trump tweeted and spoke negatively about Pence on and around the day of the riots.


Reports have very recently emerged that the P and the VP met to have what was labelled ‘a very good conversation’ today. This is reportedly the first time they have spoken since the riots, after which time Pence and his family went into hiding. Reports say that they each agreed to continue working together until the inauguration, which indicates Pence is unlikely to invoke the 25th amendment, but there is still time for anything to happen. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how quickly things can escalate.


Trump loses party support


Trump is finally losing the public support of the Republican party after refusing to condemn the violent actions at the Capitol. Elected officials and Republican voters alike have spoken out to air their grievances and disappointment. Many of Trump’s staffers have resigned.


While Trump did (as much as he hates to admit it) lose the election in November, he still gained an astonishing number of votes. I had questions at the time as to how many of his voters simply voted with the Republican party as they always had, and saw Trump as a ‘necessity’ to see their conservative political agendas met for another four years. I wondered if they were simply blind to Trump’s fascism and affinity for dictatorship. The past week has indicated that this may have been the case after all.


A journalist from Intelligencer spoke to one of Trump’s senior staffers about this very topic.



The Inauguration


We’re so close to the inauguration we can almost taste it. We already know that Trump won’t be in attendance, but at this point, nobody cares. Mike Pence will apparently be in attendance, and likely so will a large group of Trump-supporting protesters. The FBI are wary and prepared for a large gathering of rioters to attend the event.


What’s next?


The only answer to this questions is who the fuck knows. There is a high chance of more violent protests and riots, so we can only hope security will be tight (i.e. the opposite of what it was at the Capitol) at upcoming events, and that Trump doesn’t find a Twitter workaround.


What I do know for sure is that we haven’t seen the last of Mr Trump.